- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2000

Former CIA Director John Deutch compromised some of the most sensitive defense programs by improperly transferring data about ultrasecret Pentagon programs to computers he used to send e-mail and access the Internet, The Washington Times has learned.

The compromises occurred sometime after 1994 and have raised fears among Pentagon security officials that foreign governments obtained access to the "crown jewels" of the Pentagon's secret weapons, intelligence and military programs, according to defense officials.

Mr. Deutch is suspected of using the Internet to send the secret information on so-called special access programs (SAPs) over the commercial Internet service provider America Online as part of a 1,000-page personal journal he produced during his tenure as deputy defense secretary from 1994 to 1995 when he also was director of the Pentagon's Special Access Program Oversight Committee (SAPOC).

As the head of SAPOC, Mr. Deutch sat at the pinnacle of the defense secrecy system involving hundreds of special access programs and ultrasensitive information ranging from exotic weapons development to secrets used during war-fighting operations.

The officials provided new details of the compromised programs to highlight what they say is an effort to cover up the security breaches to avoid the political embarrassment for a high-ranking Clinton administration official during the presidential-election campaign.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has completed a report on the CIA's handling of the Deutch security breach, but release of the report is being delayed by Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, who is challenging its findings, according to congressional sources.

The Pentagon officials said the compromises are based on a "worst case" estimate that information requiring extraordinary secrecy has been released improperly or gathered clandestinely by foreign spies.

"We don't know the full extent," said one official. "But until we do, you have to assume there were serious compromises."

A second defense official said: "A security and counterintelligence investigation is needed to determine where is the information, and a damage assessment is needed to determine what has been compromised."

Officials said the case is potentially the most damaging security breach in the Pentagon's history because of the secrets involved.

For example, special access programs include vital defense information used during wartime. During the Persian Gulf war, one special access program was set up to protect information about a flaw in a foreign-built radar system used by the Iraqi military, which provided a major advantage to U.S. allied military forces during the conflict.

The officials said the compromises are not being investigated by security and counterintelligence officials at the Pentagon or the FBI.

The failure to aggressively pursue the security breaches has led some officials to question whether the matter is being covered up by the Pentagon in order to protect Mr. Deutch, who became CIA director in 1995 and left after being passed over for a senior post in the second Clinton administration in 1996.

Pentagon spokesmen have said a damage assessment is under way but that it has been stymied by Mr. Deutch's refusal to cooperate in turning over computer disks.

Spokesman Kenneth Bacon said no one in the Pentagon has covered up the security breaches by Mr. Deutch.

Officials do not know why Mr. Deutch produced the secret personal journal.

However, the biggest fear is that Mr. Deutch has used the information with his international consulting firm, or will do so in the future.

Mr. Deutch is currently a co-chairman of the advisory council for Intellibridge Corp., a District of Columbia-based global intelligence and information service for corporations. The company was originally called Newmarket. The board co-chairman is former White House National Security Adviser Anthony Lake. Other board members include former high-ranking U.S. and foreign government officials.

The Intellibridge Internet site states that the company "is a strategic knowledge tool providing a total information and intelligence solution for the international corporation." A spokesman for the company confirmed Mr. Deutch is on the advisory board.

Pentagon documents obtained by The Times show the Pentagon waited 20 months until February 2000 before initiating an inquiry into the security breach. The Pentagon was first informed in June 1998 by CIA investigators that special access program data was found on Mr. Deutch's unsecured computers, the documents state.

A draft Pentagon inspector-general report on the Deutch matter also said that Mr. Deutch used seven U.S. government-owned Macintosh computers to write "a journal that contained classified information on unclassified computers both at his residence and his office."

Some of the computers "were used by Dr. Deutch and his family to access his [America Online] account," the report said.

The documents were first disclosed by National Journal magazine.

As for his use of America Online and the Internet, the report stated that "using computers in this manner was extremely risky in that a computer 'hacker' could have gained on-line access to Dr. Deutch's computer and the information stored in temporary files on the hard drive, including the journal."

Mr. Deutch could not be reached for comment and his attorney, Terry O'Donnell, did not return telephone calls.

According to a 1998 Pentagon memorandum, Mark W. Spaulding, who investigated Mr. Deutch for the Pentagon, said after a CIA briefing on the case that Mr. Deutch's unsecured computers "were regularly used in connection with his AOL account and thus may have been used to transfer such information without regard to proper security procedures."

The information contained in the personal journal included "Top Secret and Top Secret Compartmented, as well as DOD Special Access Program information," Mr. Spaulding wrote.

According to Pentagon spokesmen, the current investigations are limited to a review of information involved in the case and an inspector general inquiry of computers and storage media.

Pentagon spokesman Adm. Craig Quigley told reporters on Tuesday that key information contained on the computer diskettes held by Mr. Deutch has "not been recovered."

Asked later if the information was transmitted over the Internet, Adm. Quigley said officials suspect it was.

As for security compromises, Adm. Quigley said: "Well, it's something, I guess … that you never know until you have it."

However, another defense official stated flatly: "The [special access] programs are compromised. The only question is whether foreign intelligence services have the information or will get it."

The officials said Mr. Deutch would type notes into an unsecured laptop computer after secret briefings on various special access programs he was overseeing at the director of SAPOC.

Officials believe Mr. Deutch then sent e-mail copies of the notes to himself and later retrieved them using computers at his home.

"We know that foreign intelligence services routinely monitor the Internet for just such material," the defense official said. "And AOL is a major target."

In particular, Russia's electronic eavesdropping service monitors all electronic messages sent through Internet servers in Russia. China's intelligence services have similar filters that are used to monitor Internet message traffic.

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